A Lung in Men's Clothing

Outside magazine, January 1996


A Lung in Men's Clothing
By Todd Balf and Paul Kvinta (with Brooke DeNisco, Martin Forstenzer, and Eileen Hansen)


Matt Carpenter pitched his usual psych job at his mountain-running rivals before last October's Everest Skymarathon--he wears an air filter that renders him a dead ringer for a praying mantis--but he needn't have bothered. The two-time defending champion already had his opponents shaking in their sneakers when he scored off the charts in a battery of physiological tests administered at a high-altitude research center in Nepal. "I knew I adapted quickly to altitude," says Carpenter, who once held the U.S. Olympic Training Center record for VO2 max, a measure of the body's ability to process oxygen. "But I didn't know I adapted that quickly." Not surprisingly, the Coloradan easily completed his Everest threepeat, finishing the marathon--at an average of 17,000 feet, the world's highest--ten minutes ahead of fellow American Robb Reece in 3:22.

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